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Yesterday and Today

Print version ISSN 2223-0386

Yesterday Today  n.7 Vanderbijlpark Jan. 2012

 

Editorial

 

 

The publication of Issue 7 (July 2012) of Yesterday&Today (Y&T) is a milestone in the history of the journal. From the 1st of January 2012, the journal is included in the Department of Higher Education and Training's (DoHET) list of approved South African journals. Consequently, all peer-reviewed articles published in the first section (Articles) of the journal will qualify for subsidy. This achievement was the result of the contributions of many individuals and institutions over the years. It was, from 1997 onwards, due to a lack of funding, that its continued existence was an interrupted one. For more than a decade, all those who firmly believed in the journal's continued existence worked hard for its revival. At the forefront of the revival attempts, was Professor Elize van Eeden. As secretary of the South African Society of History Teaching (SASHT) since 1996, and as chairperson since 2010, she used the SASHT as platform to obtain funding to give Yesterday&Today a new lease on life. Once financial support has been obtained, the publication of the journal could be resumed. She continued to work behind the scenes with unflagging enthusiasm to obtain accreditation for the journal. Voltaire once wrote: "Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well". Given these words, the Editorial Board of Yesterday&Today, on behalf of all present and future contributory authors, wants to speak a word of appreciation to the editor, Prof Elize van Eeden for her dedicated and effortless commitment to this process, which will ultimately empower all of us.

The main focus of Yesterday&Today is twofold: to publish contributions of excellence and which were subjected to a rigorous peer-reviewed process; and to promote and improve the teaching and learning of H(h)istory at all educational levels. The Editorial Board, therefore, encourages creative and scientifically-sound research that does not only concentrate on knowledge and diverse historical perspectives, but also provide innovative reflections on the methodology of History teaching, and its practical application in any history theme. Against this background, the Editorial Board also includes a minor percentage of articles of a more practical nature, the so-called Hands-on articles; which GET, FET and even HET educators may find helpful in their teaching. Hoewever, these articles, due to their nature and focus, will not qualify for DoHET subsidy. The July 2012 Issue of Yesterday&Today contains a variety of creative contributions by experienced scholars and practitioners of history from all over the country - representing several academic disciplines.

This Issue of Yesterday&Today starts with two critical reflection articles on the present-day History curriculum, authored by Carol Bertram and Peter Kallaway respectively. Bertram focuses on Bernstein's theory as a possible tool for doing research on the History curriculum reforms in South Africa; and Kallaway indirectly accentuates Bertrams argument by providing an extensive critical review of the CAPS document for History, Grades 10 to 12 (2011). He recognises its value, but also turns a critical eye to question the credibility of the new curriculum in terms of knowledge criteria and pedagogic viability. Johannes Seroto, in his contribution also critically dwindles on an important aspect of curriculum development. His reflects on the provision of citizenship education to Africans between 1948 and 1994. He provides a refreshing analysis on why citizenship education upholds a rather negative than a positive contribution to History teaching. According to Seroto, citizenship education often ignores some important features of History teaching such as critical thinking and dialogue. Kallaway also identified this tendency in his review of the CAPS document (2011), and responded negatively to such an approach.

In the next article, written by Kathalin Morgan, the focus turns from curriculum matters to critical issues in recently published History textbooks, such as stereotypes, prejudice, the self and the other. This article is based on an extensive literature study. Morgan provides thoughtful ideas on the possible moral responsibility "locked-up" in the self, and not in History per se. Chitja Twala produces a fascinating contemporary-based contribution on the self-inspired, local militant activities of the Three Million Gang of Maokeng in Kroonstad. He evaluates the responses of the African National Congress on this Gang, which inevitably arouses debate on to what level non-state groups (especially gangster groups) could undermined the sovereignty of the state. Twala effectively applies real voices to record the memories of the Kroonstad gangster group in which refreshing information surface that could also be applied to debates pertaining to ideology, local service delivery and violence.

The final two articles provide insight into methodological aspects regarding the teaching of History. Derek du Bruyn and Marietjie Oelofse unlock the potential and possibilities of oral history teaching for skills development on third year level at the University of the Free State. The two authors argue that oral history's potential creates new methodological approaches for developing a diversity of new skills required by a changing social context. Schalk Raath (geographer) and Pieter Warnich (historian) on the other hand, explore aspects of a changing identity in Modimolle (Nylstroom) by means of an interdisciplinary discourse. In many ways, this contribution compliments the quest of Morgan for moral responsibility as an assignment of the self.

 

Hands-on articles

Siobhan Clanvill's article on the analysis and construction of the South African youth in historical-related images and texts on especially Youth day (16 June), provides a refreshing way through images and the oral history methodology on how young people construct and perceive the anti-apartheid-struggle history. This is a practical hands-on article for History educators which will not only stimulate debate, but also pave the way for the development of other similar teaching and learning experiences.

 

Book reviews

Four reviews of recently published books are included. Gavin Heath reviews a publication dealing with map work in the geography classroom. Karen Horn reviews an edited book with contributions of 35 different authors. The purpose of the book is to report and stimulate present-day discourse on History Didactics as a scientiic discipline in various European (and possibly other) countries. Leevina Iyer critically assessed the value of the Social Sciences publication "Our world, our society" for utilising it on the Grade 8 level. In the main she reviews it to be a fair and unbiased publication. Lastly Marshall Maposa reviewed the 2011 Oxford University Press Grade 10 learner publication titled In search of history and applauds its reader- and user-friendliness.

In conclusion, the Editorial Board will strive to encourage contributions of a high standard - ones based on fine quality research that will not only stimulate intellectual debate, but which will also ensure that Yesterday & Today will be read widely in future.